I’m writing about my thoughts and experiences while studying for my PADI dive master qualification on the tiny Indonesian island of Gili Air. There will be posts with more practical info soon, but for now here are my ramblings.
It’s so damn dusty.
That’s the first thing we notice arriving back to Gili Air. I walk down the jetty towards dry land and see earth covered in dirt, clouds of it churning up around the wheels of pony traps. When I blow my nose it comes out grey. Within hours the soles of our feet are black and stay that way despite prolonged scrubbing.
My last visit had been at the end of the wet season when the island had been roundly doused for months on end. Now, after weeks of no rain, locals sit and water the paths to reduce the dust. I’m not sure that the slippy mud which replaces it is preferable, especially when I keep slipping in it and nearly breaking my ankle.
The island seems different, so different, after only 18 months. More developments line the beach and as many horses are carrying bags of concrete as tourists. Of course it only takes a short walk to find a piece of the old Gili, and after getting used to the new buildings we feel a little silly for complaining about change.
We find a room and settle in. The first few days pass by in a carousel of new names to be remembered, empty bintang bottles, house hunting and epic sunsets. A start date is set for our course and we collect the first few work books.
And then suddenly it’s Sunday and I’m standing on the same jetty we arrived on with tears rolling down my face and a chest full of sobs. My partner in crime has to go back to Cairns, while I stay here a thousand miles away. I feel stupid for feeling sad in paradise, and for feeling so devastated over a parting of a mere 30 days. Of course stupidity doesn’t cure sadness so I bury my face in my books, eat a delicious $2 curry and start to man the fuck up.
It’s time to begin!